Pins and Needles instead of the rush
April 8, 2009 3:12 AM   Subscribe

Why am i getting a weird Pins and Needles feeling instead of an adrenaline rush?

Lately I've noticed that when I get a sudden shock (say, nearly getting hit by a car on my bike) I get a weird Pins and needles feeling in my chest and both arms where usually there is an adrenaline rush. Naturally, I'm a bit concerned. Should I be?
posted by AzzaMcKazza to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
While I don't have an iron-clad physiological explanation for it, I think that it is entirely normal. From my n=1 experiment, I've had the exact same feeling following massive adrenaline surges (e.g., near-misses for auto collisions leave my legs tingling). I would speculate that the epinephrine (adrenaline) surge leads to vasoconstriction of superficial blood vessels and that the transient lack of oxygen to cutaneous nerve endings feels like "pins and needles".
posted by scblackman at 3:16 AM on April 8, 2009

As a follow-up (following a quick Medline search), I can offer the following:

1.) An interesting reference on cutaneous (skin-related) symptoms of stress.

2.) A review paper on endocrinologic causes of paresthesias/dysesthesias.

3.) Two articles that discuss potential mechanisms for paresthesias/dysesthesias related to hyperventilation. The first one discusses potential mechanisms, and the second one involves experimental hyperventilation in healthy subjects and looking at microneurographic recordings to see what the nerves in the skin are doing.

Thanks for asking an interesting question --- it's nice to have a chance to think about something relatively obscure like this.
posted by scblackman at 3:30 AM on April 8, 2009

Hey, me too.

In my case I began to suffer with anxiety and my physical reaction to stress changed from a simple adrenaline reaction to all sorts of things - palpitations, shortness of breath, and (in cases of sudden stress) the tingling sensation you've described. I'm not implying that you have an anxiety disorder; I'm just saying that stress can cause a whole range of different physical effects, some of which can seem a little bizarre or frightening.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:57 AM on April 8, 2009

Just out of curiousity, have you ever had a panic attack or a vasovagal episode? Any other symptoms like a change in vision or "the shakes"? That sounds like what happens to me when something triggers my "fight or flight" response.
posted by SpecialK at 7:35 AM on April 8, 2009

I asked the same question previously.
posted by chiababe at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2009

« Older Occasional deep coughing problem after chest...   |   Mummy ! They won't ship my new toy to Belgium ! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.